New Thinking in a Pandemic: Laura Tyson & Jesse Rothstein

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. labor market with astonishing speed and severity. Six months into the pandemic, influential economist and former Berkeley Haas Dean Laura Tyson hosted Jesse Rothstein, UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy and Economics and Faculty Director for UC Berkeley’s California Policy Lab for a discussion of the labor market—in California and nationally.

Tyson and Rothstein discussed the unprecedented rise in unemployment, the extent to which the pandemic has exposed and amplified existing inequities, and the policy response to the labor market collapse. The discussion drew on the California Policy Lab’s analysis of newly available data from California government and private entities, giving a real-time picture of the state of the labor market.

Tyson is co-chair of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors (for this discussion, she did not speak on behalf of the council). She previously served as Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and Director of the White House National Economic Council for President Clinton. Rothstein served as a Senior Economist for the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama and then as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor.


“New Thinking in a Pandemic: Business, Economics & Inclusion” is a new twice monthly series hosted by Berkeley Haas faculty to highlight cutting-edge, high-level thinking and analysis on a range of topics around business, economics, and equity during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. The series is streamed live on YouTube, where viewers can ask questions via chat.